Culture Clips: As the Jussie Smollett Case Turns

48
jussie smollett

We live in a strange, confusing and unpredictable world. Need proof? Look no farther than the Jussie Smollett saga.

First, we heard that the actor, who’s both black and gay, was attacked by two folks with some apparent racist, homophobic leanings. (Oddly, both attackers were black, too.) Then we were told that Smollett actually knew his attackers—and, in fact, hired them to assault him, in part to procure a bigger paycheck. The city of Chicago filed a litany of charges against the actor, and it looked as if the guy’s career was all but done.

Now we’ve learned that the city of Chicago is dropping all 16 charges against Smollett. Why? Who knows? But for the case that keeps giving—to Culture Clips, at least—maybe that impending twist will give us something new to talk about next week.

Naturally, reaction to the Smollett has been, shall we say, mixed.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that prosecutors’ decision was “a whitewash of justice.” But Taraji P. Henson, who costarred with Smollett on the Fox show Empire, was thrilled. “I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along,” Henson told USA Today. “We’re all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed.” (But on the Empire set, perhaps things are not quite as joyfully unified as Henson says.)

While Smollett was getting out of hot water, Justin Bieber is getting out of music—at least for a while. In a pretty transparent Instagram post, Bieber says he’s stepping away to address some “deep rooted issues  … so that I don’t fall apart, so that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be.” Bieber, who admitted recently that he’s battling depression, may have hinted that being a star since before he could shave has taken its toll. “I’ve toured my whole teenage life, and early 20s,” he wrote.

(He’s not the only guy to struggle in the wake of fame. Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow on HBO’s mega-popular Game of Thrones, admit he’s suffered from anxiety because of his prominence on the show—and in the wake of his character’s death and resurrection, he actually started therapy.)

Yeah, being a celebrity as a kid can definitely be trying—especially if the kid’s celeb-hungry mom is inclined to use pepper spray if the child isn’t performing up to snuff. That’s what the seven small stars of the YouTube channel “Fantastic Adventures” dealt with. The channel, which featured adorable adopted kids swinging lightsabers and such, boasted more than 700,000 followers and rang up a collective total of a quarter billion views before the kids’ “momager,” Machelle Hobson, was accused of child abuse and  turned in by her adult daughter—who, ironically, played the kids’ mom in the videos. When police questioned the children, one refused to eat potato chips, worried that Hobson would “smell them” on his breath.

Meanwhile, some pundits are marking :the one-year anniversary of the short-lived relationship between singer Arianna Grande and comedian Pete Davidson. Writing for The Federalist, Emily Jashinsky (a millennial herself, it should be noted) declared that the relationship “represented two stereotypical sides of the millennial coin, almost literally marrying the nihilistic with the superficial.” She went on to write that,

[quote]He’s the kind of dude you would expect to mock Grande, and she’s the kind of girl you would expect to mock Davidson. But they both project a unifying indifference: stoner apathy and hot girl apathy. The latter is muddled, combining the eager pursuit of physical beauty with a strange nonchalance.

It would hardly be a Culture Clips column if we didn’t remind you that teens and screens aren’t always the healthiest of chums, and a new study from Pew Research finds that moms and dads are plenty worried, too. About two-thirds of parents worry that their teens are spending too much time in front of screens, and 62% say that they’re losing the ability to communicate in person. That’s a sentiment that Sharon Osbourne shares, by the way. Oh, and we might as well remind you about a study we mentioned last week that said social media was paradoxically socially isolating, and that teens are feeling increasingly lonely.

But for those teens who have been on their phones quite a bit in the last week, they might’ve been at least exposed to a Bible verse. Thanks to Jordan Peele’s horror movie Us, Jeremiah 11:11 was one of the most popular Google searches of the week. Not that it’s a verse you’d likely stick on your refrigerator.

Finally, let’s talk about what’s really on all of our minds. OK, on my mind, anyway: Avengers: Endgame. No, no, I’m not talking about the fake footage trailer that recently landed online, or the argument that the movie’s reportedly three-hour runtime is a great excuse to bring back that long-lost intermission. USA Today recently unveiled a list of favorites on who it thinks will make it to the credits alive—even if they have to be resurrected from the carnage of Infinity War to do so—and who won’t.

Hawkeye, my friend, it doesn’t look good for you. And I was hoping you’d get your own movie, too.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 20 days ago
I think Noah's as interesting as The Passion of the Christ basically.
Karl The Klown 20 days ago
Alrighty then.....
[removed] 21 days ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous 20 days ago
I can't say I love every Christian movie out there, because some like Carman: The Champion, the Kirk Cameron Left Behind films, Let There Be Light, The Song, Michael W. Smith's The Second Chance, the original Ben Hur with Charlton Heston, Heaven Is For Real, 90 Minutes in Heaven, The Star, The Nativity Story, Letter's to God, War Room, Facing the Giants, and Risen were all pretty bad in my opinion. But more often than not I do tend to enjoy Christian movies for the most part. Apparently I'm in the minority when it comes to this opinion too, though.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I wish Hollywood would take a chance and make a really big budget Christian film in the vein of Narnia. A King David film I feel like would be perfect for that.

An animated Adventures in Odyssey film would be cool too.
Anonymous 22 days ago
There are already animated AO films. My family has the adventures in Odyssey club and they have them all on there.

Also, Netflix is making a Narnia film series so maybe. But I doubt the Christian viens will be in it

Posted By A-Non-Mouse 
Anonymous 22 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I was actually talking about full feature length films, not episodes from a tv series.

Wait, Netflix is actually working on that? I heard they bought the rights but I wasn't aware that they were currently working on the series! Don't know if I'll see it though. I don't like how Netflix is killing cinemas right now, and my internet isn't that good to being with.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Oh. That's right. I forgot they were only like 30-40 minutes long.

Lol about the internet.

It's not a TV series from what I've researched, but a film series. And I agree with you. They are killing cinemas. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 22 days ago
I fine with cinemas dying lol
Anonymous 22 days ago
Is  @Karl The Klown  David the Clown in a new form?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 22 days ago
@A_Non_Mouse
Yes, yes he is. Two glorious profiles, one legendary user 
Anonymous 21 days ago
I suspected as much...

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 22 days ago
They already did that with Noah, Hacksaw Ridge, and Silence, three of the most stunning Christian films ever made.
Anonymous 22 days ago
I'll give you Haxsaw Ridge. According to the PI review of Noah, it does not follow the true story from the bible.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 22 days ago
Apparently Noah drew more inspiration from a graphic novel the director wrote that was more based on the extra canonical books like  Apocrypha and the Book of Enoch than it was the actually biblical account.

-Evan
Karl The Klown 22 days ago
I have to admit, Hacksaw and Silence were superb films. But how the heck did Noah get in there?
Anonymous 21 days ago
Like I've said on here numerous times before the story of Noah in the bible is so short it makes sense Darren Aronofsky felt the need to pad it out with extra stuff, most notably in character development because let's face it the bible never tells us day by day what Noah and his family actually did and how they related to each other. But besides all the extra stuff I was fine with I found much more stuff that was biblically accurate than stuff that was not. The creation scenes, saying how the line of Seth were the only righteous people on the planet at that time, Noah's grandfather Methuselah being in the story, the Watchers from Daniel having an integral part of the story, Noah getting naked and drunk in a cave, the rainbow promise at the end. Add to that the absolutely gorgeous cinematography and visuals in the film and it remains one of my favorite Christian films of all-time.
Anonymous 21 days ago
I've never seen the film. I just read the PI review.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 20 days ago
I would highly recommend go see Noah to everyone that hasn't done so already. Please don't let the Plugged In review make your decision for you. It truly is a visual masterpiece that except for little bits here and there does stay pretty true to the Bible.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Visual masterpiece isn't everything. Take the new Dumbo for example. You need to have characters people care about and plot that is good and shocking in spots. 

All the Dark Knight films do this and so do most Marvel movies.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 20 days ago
I personally think everyone involved did a fantastic job playing their characters, especially Russell Crowe as Noah, and I found it fascinating to see everyone's transformation throughout the movie. Just seeing the way Noah and his family, along with the Watchers and everyone else reacted to the flood coming was quite interesting all by itself. Basically I thought the movie's strongest parts were indeed all the gorgeous visuals, but the strong character development everyone had, as well as just seeing the story of Noah come to life before my eyes was just fascinating and interesting as well. It's up to you of course if you decide to see it or not, but for me it's well worth seeing not just for the visuals but in seeing everyone involved back then reacting to what was going on around them. The story of the Watchers in particular was quite amazing to hear.
Karl The Klown 20 days ago
Correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't Noah have giant rock monster angels help build the arc?
Anonymous 19 days ago
Lol, @Karl The Klown I thought I had read something like that. I know it wasn't in the Bible though!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 17 days ago

The "giant rock monster angels" were actually the fallen angels called the Watchers which are mentioned in the book of Daniel, so even though they're technically not mentioned in the book of Genesis, they are still mentioned in the bible.


Like I said some stuff like Noah having doubts and fears about the whole thing was indeed never mentioned in the bible, because the bible never actually says what everyone did on a day to day basis, but certain other things like the Watchers were indeed mentioned in the bible, just in a different book. Darren Aronofsky may have put his own spin on things at times, but still remained fairly faithful to the bible in the process.

Anonymous 23 days ago
I purchased my copy of Detective Comics #1000 today. Did anyone else? And why didn't that make it to the culture clips?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 22 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Bought mine today! Can't wait to dig in tonight!
Anonymous 21 days ago
What did you think? Which one is your favorite?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 20 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I haven’t been able to fully dig in (thanks a lot homework), but the first story was very enjoyable. Hoping to fit in some more tonight.

Also, just curious, but who’s your favorite Batman? Mine’s Kevin Conroy (second fav is either Keaton or Bale)!
Anonymous 20 days ago
Bale for sure. There will never be a DC film as good as The Dark Knight trilogy or a Batman as good as Bale.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 22 days ago
It is such a good comic! I enjoyed every story. Definitely a worthy celebration of Batman.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 23 days ago
Guess this is the OJ of our century......dear me....
Anonymous 23 days ago
It's too bad there are no decent sounding Christian films coming out this year. If there were maybe everyone would stop obsessing over comic book stuff, lol.
Anonymous 23 days ago
And the effect of social media on teens....
-David the Clown
Anonymous 23 days ago
That too, lol.
Karl TheKlown 23 days ago
There never really are decent Christian films lol
-fka David the Clown

Karl The Klown 23 days ago
"decent" being the keyword.
I will give you Silence and Hacksaw Ridge though. Those are solid films
Anonymous 22 days ago

The Ten Commandments, Passion of the Christ, End of the Spear, Last Sin Eater, Noah, Miracles from Heaven, Amazing Grace, God's Not Dead 1-3, Do You Believe, Left Behind with Nicholas Cage, Soul Surfer, Courageous, Fireproof, To Save a Life, Hacksaw Ridge, Silence, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, The Shack, and A Walk to Remember just off the top of my head for starters.


And by the way, we really don't need yet another guy on here bashing Christian films, especially since this is a Christian website.

Anonymous 20 days ago
We're not 'bashing' Christian films. We're saying they aren't good. I will give you Passion of the Christ and Hacksaw Ridge. Those films are pretty good. But all the others, no. Just no. Christian films are generically the same and their plots are uninteresting most of the time. 

I'm not saying Christian films are all bad. I'm just saying I want a well-plotted story with lots of twists, and developments in story, and Christian films just don't deliver. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 20 days ago
I am bashing Christian movies, because 90% of them are terrible. They have lackluster stories, faux emotion, and awful theology. Honestly, I have seen mindless action movies that have better theology. Like I said, Hacksaw and Silence were great, (I haven't seen the Passion yet, but I have heard it is great from multiple sources) 
As Christians, we should be dedicated to trying to portray Jesus in the most glorifying way possible. But we don't. Christian filmmakers just try to pander to a particular audience.
Anonymous 20 days ago
I do agree with   @Karl The Klown but 10% of Christian movies that are good are actually enjoyable (for the most part). I wish we didn't have a Christian genre per se. Just Christian filmmakers that don't overload good stories with a ton of language violence and sex.

I believe the director of Doctor Strange is a Christian. At least that's what it said in a WORLD magazine.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 20 days ago
Yes, thank you Mouse.
I personally think that a films that convey their message subtly, instead of in-your-face, are much more effective.
For example, the film Logan (best super-hero film in existence) had very quiet, yet profound Christian subplots and imagery. And I found that to be much more effective then another God's Not Dead movie, portraying Atheists as vile people and give lame apologetic talking points. 
Anonymous 19 days ago
We agree for once  @Karl The Klown !! I do agree that if there are subtle subplots in it it's better than them shoving it down your throat. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 23 days ago
Christian films have no plot. It's literally the same thing over and over again. Comics have different and varying plots in film and book.

I'm not against Christian films. But I want a good and interesting plot to it.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 23 days ago
I would say the same about comic book films......

But, with that said, I think Brightburn looks fantastic 
Anonymous 23 days ago
Well, comic book films are the same in that they deal with people that have superpowers and they fight villains with superpowers. But if you watch the MCU you will notice the different genres and the different types of villains. You couldn't say Guardians of the Galaxy was like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or The Winter Soldier like Ant-Man. Different Characters, different villains, different settings. And that's just the MCU.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 21 days ago
There are definitely good Christian Films like Courageous, Hacksaw Ridge, Do you Believe, etc. BUT, and a big BUT, there are many Christian Films that are look/sound/feel the same and are very cliche or are just bad filming/acting

I love a good Christian Movie, but its got to be made good. Im not gonna just watch a movie cause its Christian. Its got to represent Christ well, and a half-effort movie is not gonna do that. 

-some guy
Anonymous 22 days ago
Unplanned comes out today, hoping that its good!
Karl The Klown 22 days ago
I'm skeptical. Pure Flix is not known to be the embodiment of great film-making  
Anonymous 22 days ago
I agree with  @Karl The Klown 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse